The first of a series by Dick Tynan: "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"

Room 5 was a twin-bed affair, in the front of the building on the second floor. It offered an unobtrusive view of the River Liffey here in Dublin.
The room was very popular with our female patrons - and, most important of all fetched our top rate of £5 for two, per night. Good value in the sixties.
It was with confidence, then, that I unlocked the freshly painted door and presented it to the two young ladies."What do you think, Mary?" asked one of the girls, she had the trace of a Liverpool accent. Mary quickly scanned the room, "It's OK, Julie," she said."So.. how much do you want then?" Julie enquired. "Well," I responded, to this casual interest in our best room, "since it is quite obviously the Royal Suite we usually charge £20 a night - but I'll let you have it for a fiver - including breakfast, OK?"
Julie smiled with relief and glanced at Mary, who nodded her head in agreement. I then had them sign the register.


"You're just over from England ?" I asked, noticing the address. "Yes,"
Julie confirmed,"but we're from Dublin originally. We just got in this morning off the boat from Liverpool - poor Mary was as sick as a dog! Were'nt you, petal?" she sympathised. Mary, who looked quite pale and was still feeling the traces of her turbulent voyage, seemed impatient with our chit-chat. barely acknowledging her friend's concern. She pulled out an English £5 note from her faded blue-jeans and paid me.
"If you are going to be out after midnight, you'll need a Hall Door Key," I advised. Julie shook her head, "No fear about that, after that terrible trip.All I want to do is hit the sack and sleep forever."

It was hours later, around noon and time for me to do my rounds. Every morning at that time I would check rooms, strip beds where necessary, examine sheets for possible re-use. The clean ones were sometimes folded and put through the rotary iron; and pillowcases, in any emergency that might arise, turned inside-out to be re-used. If the hygeine sounds a little questionable, I honestly cannot recall even one complaint during my eight years of tenure there. Fresh towels and soap were mandatory, and you would'nt believe the bills for "Ajax" and "Silvo" - The sinks, you could eat out of them.After the rooms came bathrooms and toilets and finally the lino-covered stairs had to be washed daily and waxed once a week.
Starting at No.12 on the Top Floor I moved my way, room by room, downuntil I came to No.5 on the 2nd Floor. Completely forgetting I had booked the room earlier, not bothering to knock, I opened the door... and immediately regretted doing so.
Lying - naked, in close embrace, were the two young ladies I had booked in. "Oh, forgive me," I stuttered, and got the heck out, fast !

I made my way down stairs, somewhat in a state of shock and still not quite accepting what it was I had just witnessed. Thinking about it later, and dealing with all the other emotional aspects too - because, as well as shock reaction, there were other feelings going on inside me that I had to contend with as well. Being at that time still single, and just as appreciative as any other red-blooded young male of the opposite sex - especially when they were as eye catching as Julie certainly was, I had to admit to a sense of jealousy and anger, even - just where to apply that last reaction, I had difficulty to rationalize.
Of course, had I not been instantly so flirtatiously pre-occupied with Julie, I might have taken a little more notice of Mary. Her mode of dress was hardly Yves Saint Laurent, more army-surplus store.A combat jacket over a white T-shirt with well-worn, creased, denim jeans, complimented a coarse skinned, make-up free face, topped with the close cropped, popularly known, "butch" hair style of the day. All in all Mary epitomized that stereo-type, the Ban-the-Bomb, Bra-Burning feminist, whose Movement first saw the light of day in the sixties. Julie, though, definitely had me puzzled. Apart from her effeminate manner in both her movements and her style of clothes - which consisted of a very curvaceous tight skirt to her low-cut dress, she seemed to perceive my interest, and if indeed the eyes be mirrors of the soul, did not exactly discourage the same.

When I returned after a break, later that night, Julie and Mary were seated in the restaurant having coffee and playing the jute-box. I can still recall the title of the tune that was playing, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow ?" Smiling wryly to myself, but resisting any type of jocular remark, I decided, on impulse, to join them.
"I'm sorry about this afternoon," I started, "I'd completely forgotten I'd booked that room. Most people arrive at night-time." I explained. "That's OK," Julie quietly replied, obviously embarrassed. She avoided my eyes, fixing her gaze elsewhere.
I scrutinized her with unconcealed curiousity and admiration; in much the same way, I suppose, a feline would observe and covet the content of a goldfish bowl. I realised full well, ofcourse, that however long the surveillence, or indeed, whatever overtures one might employ, the ultimate outcome would be just as unsuccessful as our furry friend's efforts to land his prey.

Julie’s hair in stark contrast to Mary’s, was waist long and the shade of autumn chestnuts. Her sun-glasses, perched as they were on top of her head gave her a somewhat affected look. Perhaps she was an actress? Or a model even ? I mused – no, she had too much figure for that one ! More likely the theatre, which was much populated by people of “a different persuasion” I remembered. Shame to hide those enormous, brown, waif-like eyes behind sun-glasses. To judge by the low-cut dress her well endowed bust was doing its best to escape imprisonment. While I was dissecting the beautiful Julie, Mary was obviously doing the same number on me and I suddenly became aware of her gaze as she, perceiving my interests assumed a pose palpable in its enmity. Defiantly I ignored her; I concentrated on Julie. “Tell me.” I asked her, have you ever gone out with a fella?” Julie smiled and cast a glance at her companion… “Well, yes,” she answered, “matter of fact I have .. when I was in school I went out with loads of them – until I was about seventeen… and that’s,” she smiled at Mary, “about the time I met you – wasn’t it, love?”

I turned my attention to Mary who was chewing gum, apparently bored by our exchange, she nodded indifferently. “Then, of course, you both fell madly in love and lived happily ever after!” I exclaimed neither sincere or sarcastic; in truth I felt jealous – and helpless too. Both girls spontaneously burst out laughing and all of a sudden I couldn’t help feeling that I was the butt of some cruel joke – as I am sure many misguided and rejected males must have felt before me.

Mary , at just another conclusion of a game perpetual in its occurrence, looked directly into my eyes. Unblinking and clairvoyant, absolutely correct in the assumption that I had indeed gotten-the-message.

Sleep came slowly, if at all, that night. It would have been bad enough to have to concede defeat to a fellow rival – but to give way to a girl – well, that had to be the ultimate insult ! I remembered that I had quickly rescued my self-esteem with a glance in the mirror – but this was something far more complex for my limited intellect to come to terms with at once. Mary I concluded was a Genetic Misfit… she it was who would occupy the male-role in this unfortunate relationship, for which she had, perhaps been really intended by Nature..

Julie, by her own admission had once had natural inclinations. What was it that had propelled her into the arms of someone of her own sex ? Perhaps the victim of some form of child abuse? Perhaps these girls had individually suffered at the hand of some male relative – or even a female. Is it, if so, any wonder that Julie became sexually disorientated and consequently was enticed by another maladjusted girl ? It was some days later that I admitted my complete incomprehension of this problem. The only “gays” I had encountered were on 42nd Street, New York, and they were all exclusively male – and their mannerisms definitely effeminate.. Julie was effeminate but Mary was the complete opposite.

Several years later I came across these girls in a supermarket carpark. “Still together?” I greeted them. Julie laughed, “Yes, we are !”. “Any kids yet ?” I quipped, walking away. “Not yet,” she replied…”May be next year !” Touché Julie !

© 2002, Dick Tynan with all rights reserved

Illustration © 2002, Jocelyn Braddell